Fair play and football

You know that thing about buses – you wait for ages and then three come along at once. In this case it is football clubs – and five of them. On 6 March the Commission announced that it had opened an in-depth investigation into measures supporting five Dutch football clubs: NFootballEC, MVV, Willem II, PSV and FC Den Bosch: see Press release IP/13/192. At least three of these measures appear to have involved the clubs’¬†stadium facilities, bringing to mind the 2011 fracas over the Olympic stadium, which also involved allegations of State aid. The Dutch football clubs are not the only ones in the spotlight: the Commission is looking at similar measures supporting professional football in all of the Member States, and sent a request for information to all Member States in October 2012. More decisions in relation to other clubs may well be forthcoming.

The decision is not yet up on the Commission’s website, but will eventually appear under the case number SA.35584.

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1 Response to Fair play and football

  1. Alexander Rose says:

    Since the announcement of the 5 Dutch State Aid investigations, there have been a series of other claims that State Aid has been provided to professional football clubs.

    The most high profile is Real Madrid (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/22037966) which relates to the sale and purchase of a training ground. Despite speculation, my understanding is that the Commission has not yet opened a formal investigation. I have also seen the text of a complaint (posted on twitter) against Celtic which was rejected on the basis that the transaction occured over ten years ago.

    I have seen reports of two judicial reviews relating to State Aid to football clubs in the UK. On Wednesday, Irish League club Crusaders won the right to pursue a judicial review challenge of the decision to award £25m funding to redevelop Windsor Park football stadium on the grounds of State Aid.

    The upgrade to the football ground is being carried out for the purposes of hosting international games. However the concern of the Crusaders appears to be that Linfield will benefit as they also play at the stadium. More information on this case can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/22625278

    There is also a low profile case involving the Ricoh stadium. It appears from this article http://twohundredpercent.net/?p=22722, that State Aid is being challenged with a view to the club making a bid to buy the stadium in the future.

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